Enel Green Power North America Inc. said Tuesday it had started construction on the Red Dirt wind farm in Kingfisher and Logan counties, the company's ninth project in Oklahoma.
The 300-megawatt wind farm is expected to be operational by the end of the year. It will have 95 turbines and sell electricity to the Grand River Dam Authority and T-Mobile U.S. Inc. under long-term contracts.
The Red Dirt project will be Enel's largest in Oklahoma, bringing its total wind capacity in the state to more than 1,430 megawatts. The project will cover 61,000 acres and employ 600 people during construction. During operations, it will have 12 full-time employees, Enel said.
"We are proud to continue our investment in Oklahoma and its communities and to do so with T-Mobile, a new corporate partner who shares our commitment to sustainability and community," said Rafael Gonzalez, head of Enel Green Power North America. "Red Dirt has been under development for several years and promises to be a project that will deliver millions in new revenue to support local services, education and drive economic stimulus in the region."
Enel said the T-Mobile agreement marks its second corporate buyer. Google has a contract with one of the company's Kansas wind farms.
The announcement comes a day after Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2298, which ends the zero-emissions tax credit for wind projects July 1, more than three years ahead of its previous sunset date.
"The development of the Red Dirt wind farm has been a multiyear process and Enel Green Power North America put in place and secured agreements with certain assumptions," Enel said in a statement. "Additionally, the company has already invested a great deal of resources and planning in the development of this wind facility. While we considered not going forward with the Red Dirt project, we are a company that honors its business and financial commitments, and therefore we are proceeding with construction."
Deby Snodgrass, Oklahoma's commerce secretary, praised the Enel construction announcement.
"The wind energy industry plays a vital role in our state, thanks in part, to the investment by Enel Green Power," Snodgrass said in a news release. "Today's announcement that EGP-NA is continuing its commitment and will expand even more in Oklahoma is welcome news."
Enel Green Power North America, a subsidiary of Italy's Enel S.p.A., has spent more than $2.3 billion on its eight wind farms in Oklahoma. The Red Dirt project will cost about $420 million to develop and construct, the company said. Each turbine is rated at 3.15 megawatts of capacity.